Miss Mandalay, as I’ve mentioned before, was one of the brands that made my eyes pop open and my jaw drop when I discovered Bravissimo. This was around 2007 or 2008, and I was used to beige, bland, smooth minimizer bras from my local department stores, or at best a discreet lace balconette by Wacoal. When a lime green mesh balconette bra trimmed with hot pink lace and ruffly matching knickers bursts suddenly onto your horizon, how can you ever go back?
In the years since, Miss Mandalay has continued to offer their classic bra shapes and bold bikinis in dazzling new colors, as well as gradually expanded size ranges. The overall aesthetic is sleek, colorful, and sophisticated, with the occasional girly frill thrown in. I was stunned and delighted when Miss Mandalay reached out to me a few weeks ago to offer me a review sample of their classic “Paris” set in the new Cobalt Blue.
Miss Mandalay graciously provided this set for review. All opinions are my own.
I’d had a Paris set a few years ago in the hot pink Azalea color, and I couldn’t wait to be able to wear it again. Cobalt blue is one of my go-to colors; my current favorite dress and current favorite nail polish are both bright blue, and naturally I looked forward to taking myself out on the town, dolled up in blue from head to toe. I remembered that the cups of Paris featured a ribbon that ran somewhat tightly across the top of the cup, so I asked to try Paris in my current “normal” band size, plus one cup size up.
Sometimes, no matter how well you know your body and your fit, you get things wrong size-wise. I emailed Miss Mandalay, bewildered, with a set of pictures of this first size, asking how I could have gone so wrong. They wrote back promptly to reassure me that the band on Paris runs much tighter than some other MM styles, including Paige, and also to tell me that it looked like my cup volume was much too big. We decided to try again in my “true” sister size, one band size up and one cup size down from my “regular” size, and when the new bra arrived, oh what a difference it made.
Does “pretty pretty pretty” cover it? Paris is a sheer mesh three-part balconette bra with fully adjustable straps and three columns of two rows of hooks-and-eyes. Satin ribbon runs across the top of the cups, and there are matching satin bows between the cups and at the waist of the knickers.
Well, as I mentioned above, I had some hiccups guessing my size. The band on my first bra was a full size small, and as a result the cups were pulled too far under my arms and down my rib cage, while the center gore didn’t tack by a country mile. The kind ladies at Miss Mandalay advise customers who try Paris for the first time to size up in the band. The second bra, one band size up and one cup size down from my “regular” size (two cup sizes down from the first bra I tried) was a much, much better fit. The band fit firmly yet comfortably around my ribcage (although I do prefer three rows of hooks, like “Paige” offers), the straps sat nicely over my shoulders (in the first size I tried, they were being pulled under my arms instead of lying down my back), and the wires fully encompassed all of my breast tissue.
While I got my size right, I was sad to discover that Paris may no longer be the perfect shape for me. I tried her for the first time a few sizes ago, and this time I noticed that the cups are a little shallow in the bottom, and there isn’t quite enough depth in the cup near the center gore. As a result, the gore doesn’t tack, so the bra isn’t anchored as firmly to my body as some others are. It’s a close fit, but it’s not perfect. I will still wear her, as she’s totally beautiful, but I will probably save her for days when I don’t have a lot of activities planned.
Miss Mandalay briefs run more true to size than Eveden’s, so I asked for what I think of as my regular size. The size was right, but I do notice that they’re cut very high and narrow through the crotch, with a higher rise in the back and a lower bikini-style rise in the front. Those of you who prefer shorts or high-waist panties may find these to be a bit of an adjustment.
Paris in Cobalt Blue is available in sizes 28 F-HH, 30-38 C-HH, XS-XL at Miss Mandalay. The full set retails for £62. Other Miss Mandalay styles are available at Miss Mandalay, Large Cup Lingerie and The Lingerie Collective.